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American Hellenic Institute Foundation to Sponsor Washington D.C. Conference on the United States and Turkey
September 14, 1998 No. 40/98


The American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF) in conjunction with the the Foundation for Hellenic Studies, the Hellenic American National Council (HANC), and the Hellenic American Women's Council (HAWC) will hold a conference on Saturday November 21, 1998, at the Capitol Hilton on The United States and Turkey: The Challenges for American Foreign Policy.

The conference will review the role of Turkey both domestically and in the Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Transcaucasus, and Central Asian regions. It will challenge many of the erroneous and complacent assumptions underlying the U.S. relationship with Turkey. It will establish a framework for a reevaluation of U.S. policy toward Turkey.

Starting from a critical examination of the nature of the Turkish state, the conference will focus on the broad authority afforded to the military under the Turkish constitution in domestic and foreign policy decision making. It will highlight the differences deriving from this military influence between the Turkish state and normal, civilian-led democracies.

The conference will examine Turkey's role in 20th century history, including its enemy status in World War I, its collaboration with Nazi Germany in World War II, and its belated support for the United States during the Gulf War. It will review the implications of this record for the assessment of Turkey's alleged geostrategic role and future reliability as a U.S. ally.

Many geostrategic assessments of Turkey overlook Turkey's human rights record, including its treatment of the Kurds, domestic opponents, and women. The conference will examine this in depth. It will draw conclusions from this record for the moral dimensions of the U.S. relationship with Turkey.

On foreign policy issues, the conference will highlight Turkey's roles in many of the regional disputes, including the Aegean, Cyprus, Ngorno-Karabakh, and Armenia. It will consider the implications of this role for U.S. policy.

The conference will be held at the Capitol Hilton, 16th and K Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036

Conference chairman Eugene T. Rossides, AHIF President, announced that Dr. Van Coufoudakis, Dean of the School of Art and Sciences, Indiana University-Purdue University and the leading academic expert in the United States on U.S. relations with Turkey in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, will be the program coordinator for the conference.

For further information, please contact Mr. Nick Larigakis at (202) 785-8430.